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Sunday, 14 July 2019

Busy few days at Egypt’s House as reps prep for summer recess

LEGISLATION WATCH- House gives final nod to keeping stamp tax on EGX transactions at 0.15%: The House of Representatives’ general assembly voted in favor of keeping the provisional stamp tax on EGX transactions unchanged at 0.15% on Thursday, Arabic Reuters reports. The tax was scheduled to increase to 0.175% on 1 June as part of a plan to hike it annually over a three-year period, but the Finance Ministry called off the increase in a move designed to ease the financial burden on traders.

This could be the last year Egypt residents pay a stamp tax on EGX transactions: Under the most recent government proposal to bring back the capital gains tax, the stamp tax on EGX transactions for residents of Egypt would be eliminated. A stamp tax would remain in place for non-residents, but would be lowered to 0.1% from 0.15%, government sources told us earlier this month. Investors who have lived in Egypt for 182 days or more would be considered residents.

Also passed by parliament over the weekend in a breathless rush to the summer recess:

  • Changes to the contentious Labor Unions Act,which regulates the formation and activities of workers’ unions, reports Al Masry Al Youm. The amendments will revoke prison sentences and relax restrictions on setting up unions, including reducing the required membership base. Violations to the act could incur higher fines, but will no longer result in prison sentences.
  • Government-proposed legislation to develop an authority dedicated to developing governorates in Upper Egypt, Mubasher reports. The Upper Egypt Development Authority will have its own budget, and will be tasked with accelerating development in the southern region through new projects and increased investment.
  • Draft legislation to regulate pharma, medical and cosmetic products, which stipulates that coordination take place with relevant ministers, among other things, Mubasher reports.
  • A presidential decree to extend for an additional three months the nationwide state of emergency, which has been in place for over two years, according to Mubasher. The decree will take effect on 25 July, extending the state of emergency until late October.

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